5 Trends for Experiential Marketing in 2017 and Beyond

FEM.jpegThanks to the rapid development of new technology, the event and experiential marketing field is constantly in flux. From finding the event marketing software that best suits your needs to incorporating virtual reality into your events, there are always new tools and technology that help take experiential marketing to the next level. But with so many evolving trends, how do you know which ones deserve your attention?

Last year we launched our Future of Event Marketing online series, interviewing industry experts about the future of experiential and asking them the compelling questions to which all event pros want answers. This year we’re doing it again, and have interviewed industry-leading event pros about what they see as the future of the industry. To give you a preview into the series, we’ve compiled a list of the top six trends for event and experiential marketing in 2017 and beyond—keep reading to learn more, and if you haven’t done it yet, click here to register for the series.

1. Event pros are going to start meeting people where they are instead of only drawing 160912-making-memories-with-virtual-reality-lg.jpgthem to a centralized location. Rather than relying solely on the idea that experiential campaigns must take place at a specific venue and at a specific time, marketers are going to start meeting people where they are and bring the excitement of their experiential campaign to them. One of our interviewees, Christine Wylie, a Group Director at Octagon, described how MasterCard built an experiential marketing campaign around the Rugby World Cup Finals. Instead of inviting fans to an event, MasterCard met fans where they were in their everyday lives—waiting in the stations of the London Tube. With fans at the stations, MasterCard asked fans to sing their team’s anthem, and then surprised them with tickets to matches. They were able to gain traction for their brand through an experiential campaign without hosting a conventional event—and with technologies like virtual and augmented reality, it’s possible to make these types of campaigns more immersive than ever.

2. Events will bring the internet to life. Going forward, event pros should ask themselves: how can we create an immersive experience using trends that have “broken” the internet? Whether you’re focused on the latest memes or a YouTube video that went viral, ask yourself how you can bring those things to life in a way that allows attendees see, touch, feel, and engage with them. If you’re able to build off of something that has already proven successful and transform it into an on-site activation at your event, you’ll be able to create an engaging and immersive branded memory for your attendees.

3. The end of an event will not be the end of an experiential marketing campaign. Rather than thinking of events as marketing tools that stand apart from other marketing efforts, marketers are beginning to understand events as the basis for other marketing campaigns. When planning experiential campaigns, marketers are focusing on the logistics and on-site activations at the event, as well as how that event will live on long after the venue doors have closed. How will you engage with attendees in the days and weeks after the event? Whether you want to repurpose and expand upon a panel or presentation from your event, or you want to share “digital” memories with attendees that were collected in-event, experiential marketers will continue to find ways to engage attendees and non-attendees alike to extend the life of their event.

4. More and more people will use live streaming to enhance and complement events. live_cover_3.pngThere has been concern among event pros that if you stream too much content from your event, people won’t want to come. Live streaming services like Facebook Live, however, can add an additional element to and complement your event without taking away from people’s desire to attend. Using live streaming tools can help increase your event’s engagement and build excitement around future events, and can also be used in creative ways to engage people who are actually in attendance. Rather than acting as a substitute for attending events in-person, live streaming offers a great opportunity to convince people that they want to attend your events in the future.

5. Attendees will increasingly want to engage with the digital and physical landscapes simultaneously. Attendees want to be fully immersed in environments that event pros have created, but they increasingly want to direct their own experience within the environments that have been constructed for them. As attention spans become shorter and shorter, story lines have to be shorter to keep up with this mindset. Attendees want to engage with your event’s space in the way and time of their choosing, and event pros can help them do this by making it possible for attendees to engage with the digital and physical landscapes at the same time. Think about innovative ways in which attendees could use their smartphones to help them navigate through your venue, or how the digital landscape that you want to leverage translates into the physical world of your event’s architecture or music. Allowing attendees to engage with both the digital and physical will keep them engaged and fully immerse them in your event’s environment.

To learn more from the industry’s thought leaders, watch our free online series,  The Future of Event Marketing. The series includes interviews with industry pros and recordings of panels from our Tour D’States roadshow events. The interviewees and panelists answer pressing questions, such as: 

  • How do you sell the expense of events?
  • How do event marketers make sure their voice is heard at the greater marketing table? 
  • How do you measure the success of an event?
  • … and much more. 


Event pros, what are your thoughts? How are you going to leverage new experiential tactics in the future? Let us know in the comments below, or tweet us @eventfarm!